x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Imaginative pan-Asian fare with a view at Jumeirah's Quest

Restaurant Review While we weren't blown away by any of the savoury dishes, the food looked attractive and was competently cooked.

Quest in Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi has spectacular views of the city from the 63rd floor. Courtesy Jumeirah Group
Quest in Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi has spectacular views of the city from the 63rd floor. Courtesy Jumeirah Group

At the Emirates Palace end of the Corniche, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers stretches into the sky, providing a sleek contrast to the teeming traffic and mass of construction at ground level. Up on the 63rd floor at Quest, the hotel's pan-Asian restaurant, the mood is serene and the sight of the city's lights twinkling below is really quite spectacular.

A large open kitchen dominates the space, with tables and small private dining rooms forming a border around the edge. The layout makes sense: when the view is this good, few would appreciate being seated in the middle of the room.

At first glance, the one-page menu might seem too short. However, with nine starters, two soups and 10 main courses (plus a daily special), there is actually ample choice.

A little foie gras bon bon served on a silver spoon with a sprinkling of popping candy provided a fun start to the meal, as did a small bowl of chilli-dusted, truffle-oil drizzled popcorn.

The yam pak (mixed fruit and vegetable) salad starter was full of clean, spicy flavour and a hint of star anise and soy sauce balanced the sweetness of the juicy fruit well. Crispy prawns were prettily presented, piled delicately on top of each other and decorated with slim strips of fried chilli and curry leaves. While the texture of the creamy mayonnaise base contrasted nicely with the toasted crushed oats, we did find the combination a bit too sweet; something was needed to cut through the richness.

To follow, my friend chose the special of the day, which was sultan ibrahim with chilli and lime dressing. Credit to Quest here: it is good to see a local fish on the menu, although it would be even better if it were on the sustainable list. The dish - fried fish accompanied by plain steamed rice and vegetables - was ultimately let down slightly by its own safeness and left my friend looking longingly at my more interesting main course.

Shredded soy braised duck leg was presented in a little dipping bowl, with a light, plump, steamed bun on the side. Two rectangles of duck breast were squidgy, pink and tender and the duck sauce and strip of meaty, peppery glaze they were positioned alongside were perfectly pleasant.

While we weren't blown away by any of the savoury dishes, the food looked attractive and was competently cooked - the duck was medium-rare, the fish still moist and the vegetables crunchy and well seasoned. Desserts were presented with a quirky sense of fun and actually made us laugh out loud, in a good way. The pastry chef is clearly putting a keen imagination to good use, without sacrificing the flavour of the food.

My friend's chocolate mousse wouldn't have made an impact had it not been served beneath a cloud of raspberry-pink floating bubbles. Despite not being one for style over substance, I admit that this turned a mediocre-tasting dessert into a talking point.

My yuzu crumble was a clever take on a traditional dish. On appearance alone, it looked as if a whole yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit) had simply been placed on the plate, along with a pile of crumble. It was only when we went to cut into it that we realised the fruit had been hollowed out and cooked in stock syrup, before being filled with a sharp lemony custard.

The views at Quest are fantastic, the food is pretty good and the service was friendly and attentive. All things considered, this is a very enjoyable restaurant.

A meal for two at Quest at Jumeirah Etihad Towers costs Dh674, not including service. For reservations call 02 811 5555. Reviews meals are paid for by The National and reviews are conducted incognito.

eshardlow@thenational.ae